Clare Crawley Gets Candid About Surrogacy Journey to Welcome Daughter Rowen: 'She's Like Family' (Exclusive)

'The Bachelorette' alum and husband Ryan Dawkins welcomed their first baby together in January, joining Dawkins' two older daughters

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty, Clare Crawley/Instagram</p> Clare Crawley and daughter Rowen

Jon Kopaloff/Getty, Clare Crawley/Instagram

Clare Crawley and daughter Rowen

Clare Crawley wants her baby girl to know everything about her journey into the world.

The Bachelorette alum, 42, and husband Ryan Dawkins welcomed their first baby together, daughter Rowen Lily, last month via surrogate and the reality star tells PEOPLE she's "so proud" of the way her baby entered the world, calling her surrogate "like family."

"I wanted every step of this process to bring little Rowen into this world very thought out and very planned," says Crawley. "We wanted our surrogate to be a part of her life forever, to know her story. This is a part of her story and a part of how she got brought into this world. She's like family to us."

The new mom — whose daughter joins Dawkins' two daughters, ages 8 and 11, from a previous relationship — says her surrogate, who was based in Idaho, was a "pivotal point and such a huge part of how [Rowen] came into this world."

"I want Rowen to know every moment of it," she adds.

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Related: The Bachelorette's Clare Crawley and Husband Ryan Dawkins Welcome First Baby, a Girl: 'Dream Come True'

Crawley, who tied the knot with Dawkins last February, has been very open about her surrogacy journey as a way to help others and "encourage people to look at it as an option if they're struggling."

"I wanted to share this process on social media going through surrogacy because I want people out there who are dealing with infertility to know," she says. "There are so many different ways to become a mom and at the end of the day, I'm sitting here rocking and holding my little baby girl and that is the end goal."

"If it wasn't for surrogacy, I wouldn't be sitting here holding my baby," she adds.

As she settles into her first month of motherhood, Crawley says becoming a mom has been "heavenly."

"It's everything I've ever expected and 10 times better," she adds. "Every moment truly is heaven to me. Even the hard parts."

While being a bonus mom to Dawkins' two daughters is a "great honor," Crawley says having a daughter of her own was "always my dream."

"I would've been happy if my destiny was just to be a bonus mom. I think that would've been amazing. I would've had two wonderful bonus girls, but the cake topper is being able to be called mom. That is something super special."

The new mom says Dawkins' girls have also been very involved with Rowen's journey and had "hand a hand in everything," including helping to choose her name.

"They are over the moon to have a little sister," she says. "We're so proud of this story and we're proud of how Rowen came into this world and every piece and every part that it took to bring her into this world. She was so wanted and so loved and took a lot to bring her here, so we always talk about it."

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