This foster mom is grateful for her “miracle baby”

Jessica Homan took this self-portrait near her home in suburban St. Louis. (Courtesy of Jessica Homan)

Jessica Homan wasn’t much of a walker.

But when the epidemic spread and she found herself in confinement, she was disturbed by the thought of her being stuck indoors all day.

So during my lunch hour, I started taking short walks around the St. Louis neighborhood in its suburbs. Only a few blocks, in her slipper.

Before long, Homan had bought her walking shoes and gym clothes, and she’d walk two miles every morning. Then three miles. Then four.

You start to notice little details about your neighborhood, as if for the first time. I liked the trees. I’ve spied on hawks, rabbits, and even a fox. When it snowed, she surprised herself by making a snowy angel.

And I felt restored.

“These outings, with the fresh air and nature and the chance to stop and enjoy the beauty around me, brought me back to myself,” Homann, 47, told CNN. “They saved me both physically and emotionally.”

The trails also encouraged her to delve deeper into photography, one of her hobbies. Houmann uses her phone to document her neighborhood walks on Instagram, sharing scenes of foliage, flowers, and holiday decorations — along with occasional snaps of newspapers draped in her neighbors’ driveways, headlines marking the passing time of the pandemic.

They are also closely related to their neighbours – such as fellow morning strollers, dog walkers and more.

“I’ve been through all the seasons and holidays — admiring the festivities and home decor I’ve been through,” said Homann, who works as an executive research consultant in healthcare. “I’ve seen families bringing dogs and children home.”

Houmann now walks four to five miles a day, nearly every day. Her husband rarely joins her – most days, she goes alone. She lost 25 pounds, and her cholesterol went down.

But for her, the biggest benefit of her walk may be psychological.

“They brought me joy and the perspective that I pass on to others,” she said. “It was the greatest gift – I had the power to give myself all the time, but I probably wouldn’t have it if not for the pandemic. As a result, COVID will always be a positive turning point for me – a precious turning point in my life for which I am grateful.”

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