"My situation was a sense of, I didn't state what I needed and what I wanted and what I didn't want for being scared of somebody leaving the relationship," Shepherd told PEOPLE at the Children of Promise fundraiser in New York City on Aug. 12.
"There are consequences to everything, but I was scared to say, 'That's not going to work for me. I don't want that.'"
Following their 2011 wedding, the pair pursued surrogacy using Sally's sperm and a donor egg, but before the baby's birth the former couple was already locked in a legal battle over financial responsibility of the now 1-year-old.
"I'm the type of person I feel like as long as you can get up, you have another chance," she said. "I've gone through stuff a nasty divorce, nasty custody battle but for me, I get up and I smile. I go through it and I make it through."
A Pennsylvania judge ordered Shepherd be officially listed as the child's mother in April.
"I am appealing the ruling that happened and he gets his settlement every month," she said of Sally. "He's happy. There nothing I can do. It's out of my hands. You move on and I have a son. I have to take care of him so everything is good."
Shepherd has a 10-year-old son Jeffrey with ex-husband Jeffrey Tarpley.
While Sally has spoken out about the custody battle numerous times, Shepherd has remained mostly mum despite vicious backlash.
"As long as the people who know me, know my heart and they know my love for my son and my character and integrity. That's all I have to stand on," she said. "As long I can look at myself in the mirror and look up and go 'Did I do what you told me to do' I'm good."
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Despite her difficult year, Shepherd is staying positive.
"I still have to get to a place where I am mentally okay," she said. "I'm the type of person that I feel like as long as you can get up, you have another chance. I've gone through stuff – a nasty divorce, nasty custody battle but for me, I get up and I smile and I make it through."
And she plans to share her experience.
"I do want to do a book for women about stepping past fear," she said. "I think it would help a lot of women who are in this place of being scared to walk away, but right now I am just laying low and letting time do its work."