Her Story

Abby Tarr wasn’t used to doing things by herself. Until a few years ago, she had lived with her dad her whole life, and she says he did everything for her. But when Abby’s dad and her then-boyfriend (now-husband) didn’t get along, the couple went to live with her boyfriend’s stepmom. Another year passed until her boyfriend got in trouble with the law and had to go to prison.

“My biggest fear was that I would end up sleeping in my car with my kids,” Abby says.

After spending a week with her aunt, Abby found YWCA Central Indiana. On her first day at the YWCA in the summer of 2018, Abby was nervous. She’d married her husband at the prison in early May, then given birth to her youngest son a few weeks later. Now, she had two of her four boys with her. When she first came to the YWCA’s 45-day emergency stay program, it was “an eye-opener.” Knowing she only had 45 days to figure out her next steps pushed her to do better.

Shortly after arriving, she found a job. Now, a year later and living in second-stage housing at the YWCA, she’s had some setbacks with childcare that put her out of work. “That’s part of being an adult,” she says. “You have bumps in the road.” But she’s still pushing herself to get back on her feet. The YWCA and its programs taught Abby how to live on her own, and she feels like she’s changed a lot. She’s confident she can take care of her kids without the daily support she used to have. It’s a big change, but it’s made her feel like a better mom.

Abby and her husband have been apart for most of their year-long marriage. “It’s hard, you know?” she says. “I came in here being married, and I haven’t even gotten to celebrate my marriage yet.” But her husband should be getting out of prison soon, and they plan to live separately until they can pay off their debts and find a good place to stay together. Abby can’t wait for him to come home.

“I’m ready for it,” she says. “I made that promise, and I wouldn’t change it.”

By Katie Grieze