In her new book, Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber’s Mom, Pattie Mallette reveals her past struggles.

“I always wanted to write a book about my story,” said Mallette told USA Today. “I wanted to be as vulnerable as I could, so that young girls who have been through similar things could relate. I pretty much bared my soul. It definitely furthered my healing process.”

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Mallette’s childhood wasn’t typical. During her adolescence, she was sexually abused, took drugs and attempted to kill herself. By the time she was 17 she was also pregnant and facing pressure to abort her baby, Justin.

“I just knew I couldn’t,” said Mallette in an interview with Kathie Lee Gifford on Today. “I just knew I couldn’t. I just know I had to keep him. And, do the best. I — you know, I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But I just knew that I couldn’t — I couldn’t abort. I had to do my best. I had to see what I could do. And I was determined to do whatever it took.”

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“Whatever it took” meant leaving her home to live at Bethesda Centre, a center for young girls from various backgrounds with one thing in common: pregnancy. In an excerpt from her book, Mallette recalls the day she said goodbye to her mom.

“Even though I was petrified starting this new chapter in my life, I didn’t let it show. There were no tears. No quivering lips. I wouldn’t even let my eyes water. I maintained a strong and confident composure, pretending I was leaving for summer camp: I’ll be back before you know it, Mom. I won’t forget to write and send pictures. I’ll miss you. Bye. But this certainly was no summer camp. I wouldn’t return home having learned how to swim or ride a horse. I’d return with a baby.”

Although Mallette “spent years wrestling with darkness and drowning in torment,” as she writes in her book, she didn’t stay in the dark. With Justin Bieber soaring to the top, her future is definitely looking brighter.

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-Ashley Quadros, 100.5 NOW/Sacramento