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How Teresa Giudice Is Standing Strong Amid the Loss of Her Mother and the Struggle of Single Motherhood

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Teresa Giudice has had a trying couple of years — but she’s not letting any of life’s stumbling blocks take her down for too long.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and single mom, who was released from prison two years ago after completing an 11-month stint stemming from a fraud conviction, is in the midst of mourning her late mother while she and her four girls —Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audriana — await the return of Giudice patriarch, Joe, from his own 41-month jail sentence for fraud.

Instead of dwelling on her struggles, Teresa has channeled them into a new memoir about overcoming adversity and is sharing a First Look exclusively with PEOPLE.

“This has been a very difficult year for me, with losing my mother and having my husband in prison,” she reveals. “I found that writing this book and talking about everything I was going through was very therapeutic for me.”

Teresa, who has also written several lifestyle and cook books, first published her memoir Turning the Tables about her time in prison in February 2016. Now her story continues in this new memoir Standing Strong (out this fall). 

“I think this is a natural sequel to Turning the Tables, as it chronicles my life after I came home from Danbury [Federal Correctional Institution],” she wrote. “It in essence picks up where the last book left off.”

The book will touch on the happy moments she’s managed to experience since her husband’s incarceration, including the 45th birthday she just celebrated with her children, but Standing Strong will also open the blinds further on her personal difficulties — especially how she makes life work as a single mother.

Teresa Guidice/INSTAGRAM

In an interview last September, Teresa explained to PEOPLE how her daughters have coped since her husband’s departure.

“They’re doing good,” she said. “I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but a little easier because they went through it with me so they know what to expect. But they miss him tremendously, they always say we miss dad. They miss him. You can feel his absence, our family’s definitely incomplete without him.”

Teresa admitted she has had a more difficult time coping than her daughters.

“I’m incomplete. He’s the missing piece of the puzzle,” she said in the same interview. “Without him I feel lost.”

Her new book is an attempt to heal, she confesses: “Writing this particular book has been very emotional and personal for me as I am going to depths that I have never gone to in previous books.”