The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore opens up about her pregnancy exclusively to PEOPLE

Kenya Moore did not expect to reveal her pregnancy on The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion.

“It’s not anything that I planned or even meant to say,” the first time mom-to-be, who is expecting a baby with husband Marc Daly before the end of the year, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“It was the first thing [host Andy Cohen] asked me, and I was really thrown off guard. The reunion usually goes on for 16 hours, so I figured it might come up. But not that soon. I felt stuck!”

Of course, it’s understandable that Moore — who conceived through in vitro fertilization — would want to share the good news. After all, she’s been wanting to start a family for a long time.

“I’ve waited 47 years for this moment,” says Moore. “I didn’t really want to announce it too soon because I feel it’s very early on in our pregnancy. But I have suffered so much in my life when it comes to wanting a family around me. So this is the day I’ve been waiting for my entire life. It’s a dream come true.”

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Fans of RHOA are well aware of the struggles Moore is referring to. The reality star has been open on the hit Bravo show about the estranged relationship she has had with her mother (the two haven’t spoken in years), and the isolation she has felt because of that.

“No one really knows what it’s like to feel rejected and abandoned by someone who gave birth to you and who treated you so badly and who hoped you would fail,” Moore says. “For me to have a family of my own, to me, that’s what makes me feel like I’m at the pinnacle of happiness.”

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Moore’s quest for love was also well-documented on RHOA, in a series of relationships that didn’t pan out for one reason or the other.

All that bad luck changed when she and Daly first met through mutual friend (and fellow Bravolebrity) Chef Roblé Ali back in June 2016. Though the couple didn’t start dating until December of that year, their bond was nearly instantaneous.

The pair married in a romantic sunset ceremony on a St. Lucia beach in June 2017, with Moore telling PEOPLE at the time, “We both want to start a family, and soon — like, right away. We both want a child.”

So how is Daly taking the news? “He’s thrilled! He’s just so happy,” she raves. “He gave me a big hug and a kiss and then he started to just kind of make jokes. That’s just his personality. He’s a fun-loving, happy person.”

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The couple’s extended families are also enthusiastic about the baby-to-be. “Everyone is excited. My dad is so happy. And two of my aunts told me they envisioned that I was going to be with child before I confirmed it!” Moore says.

She adds, “Everyone in my life, they tell me I’m a nurturing person and going to be the most awesome mother. They see something in me that they know that’s going to be true.”

As for her fellow Housewives, Moore says Kandi Burruss has offered to pass along some hand-me-downs from her 2-year-old son Ace Wells. “We all know how expensive a kid can be, with cribs, car seats, etc.,” Moore shares. “She was kind enough to say she’ll save some stuff!”

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In the end, Moore couldn’t be happier to be embarking on this next journey — and says she owes it all to having a positive attitude.

“I’ve always used positive visualization to get what I want,” she explains. “I remember months before I got married, I did a vision board. And I put an image of a beautiful couple being married, a beautiful wedding, a baby, a house, [happiness], harmony, love, peace — all of those things were on that vision board. I carried that vision board with me wherever I went. And within six months, I met my husband.”

“They definitely work!” Moore adds. “I did something similar when I was competing for Miss USA. I visualized that I was already Miss USA. I had everyone referring to me as ‘Kenya Moore, Miss USA 1993.’ And for whatever reason, however the universe is designed, it worked. It just does. The power of the universe will work for you. So I don’t think of things in a negative way. I just ask that they work out and they always do. There may be struggles along the way, but they always work out.”