Fans of The Real Housewives of Atlanta know Porsha Williams as a quirky, over-the-top business woman — unafraid to throw on a pair of six-inch heels, a fire engine red wig, and take on her day. A true Southern Belle, she exudes confidence and brightens any room she walks into— sex dungeons excluded.

On March 22, Williams gave birth to a beautiful baby girl— Pilar Jhena McKinley — with fiancé Dennis McKinley. Though her life looks picture-perfect now, this self-described ‘phoenix from the ashes,’ has had a tough journey on the way to realizing her dreams. Since season five of RHOA, we’ve watched Williams transform from a submissive housewife to a complete and total boss. After a miscarriage, health issues, divorce and baby nups, Porsha Williams has managed to get everything from life she’s ever wanted.

Watch Porsha Williams tell the story of how Dennis McKinley proposed:

When we were introduced to Williams on RHOA, she was a traditional housewife, having given up her career to focus on her marriage to NFL player Kordell Stewart and to take care of his son, Syre. The show documented the breakdown of their marriage as the two fought about Porsha having children and a career.

The other Housewives quickly pointed out Stewart’s controlling nature — and noted that Porsha didn’t seem to have a mind of her own. Who could forget that girls’ trip to Vegas where Porsha refused to go to the strip club just because Kordell wouldn’t want her to? Nene Leakes, arguably the most vocal RHOA Housewife, was not going to let that slide. “If Porsha didn’t want to go to the strip club herself, that’s fine!” Nene wrote in her blog. “The message I think we all were trying to send to her was to use your own brain and let this be your decision. We’ve all been around her and heard her say things that sound like she’s being controlled.” Williams later confessed to her cast-mates that after marriage her world got ‘smaller and smaller,’ revealing that she couldn’t even have her sister visit her at her own house.

Porsha Williams battles through a ruthless divorce

Despite the red flags, Williams put on happy face, defending her marriage in the season five RHOA reunion show, even though she was the only Housewife there without their partner present. Reality hit when she found out about her divorce in the worst way possible – on Twitter. “I feel heartbroken and at times I feel ashamed,” Stewart Stewart told ABC News about the end of her marriage. “Because I put myself out there to the world as a wife and I was proud to be married and for it to end the way it did, it’s almost like a failure in a way.”

The divorce proceedings were equally as ruthless — with Williams receiving next to nothing in the settlement; no alimony, cash-out, property or even health insurance. After some self-reflection, Porsha identified some harsh truths about her life. “I was living a lie. I thought we could fake it ‘til we make it, [but] I need to start living for me.”

Watch Porsha Williams speak to Bethenny Frankel about what went wrong in her marriage:

From there, she started picking up the pieces. It was clear she needed to make her own living and find a way out of rock bottom. Williams’ story and bubbly personality had captivated fans, earning her a spot as a core cast member on RHOA, as well as permanent host of the nationally syndicated show Dish Nation. As she gained notoriety as a powerhouse in media, she expanded her brand to pursue several entrepreneurial ventures. Among them, Go Naked, a virgin hair line, and Naked Lingerie, a line of women’s lingerie. As she found success in business, there was one thing that fans could see that she wanted more than anything – a baby.

Porsha plans to have a baby on her own terms

Williams, whose fertility worries stemmed from her struggle with fibroids, has always been open on The Real Housewives about her desire to have children. Cameras followed her to her doctor’s appointments where she would monitor her health and ability to have a child. Even when she didn’t have a guy in her life, Williams was determined to make this dream come true. Enter the ‘baby nup’ – a contract that she created that outlined a potential father’s responsibilities should she have a child with a man who she’s not romantically involved with. She presented the baby nup to her then boyfriend Todd Stewart, but it didn’t go over well. He called it ‘extortion.’ Though the idea of a baby nup sounds ridiculous, Williams was proud of her newfound independence, adamant that she didn’t need to depend on a man for anything. “I’ve made sure I have a great support system. I’ve worked very hard financially to secure a future for a child,” she told The Daily Dish. “The decision of having a child and not really putting the man first is just where I am.”

Porsha’s newfound independence gave her the confidence to give her then boyfriend Todd Stewart an ultimatum:

Porsha’s baby dreams came true

Through the years, we’ve seen Porsha become an independent woman, uncompromising about her career and her life goals. There’s no doubt that this is a woman with a mind of her own. She’s thriving in a healthy relationship with fiancé, and now father of their first child, Dennis McKinley. “The thought of me getting that blessing after praying for it for so long…It’s like a dream come true,” she told People about baby Pilar.

Porsha’s story teaches us that it doesn’t matter where you start – the power to change and create the life you want is always within your reach. As long as you believe in yourself, you can pick up the pieces and start again.

Watch Porsha’s Baby Special – Part 1 and Part 2 on Slice.ca!