Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Mindy Kaling’s Daughter, and the Sweet Significance Behind Her Name

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For years, comedian Mindy Kaling (real name Vera Mindy Chokalingam) has delighted audiences with her show The Mindy Project, which ran from 2012 until its sixth season in 2017. The show focused on obstetrician/gynecologist Mindy Lahiri, who comedically tried to balance her personal and professional life while working with offbeat co-workers at a small medical practice in New York City.

The Mindy Project was a fan favorite – a lot of it due in part to Kaling’s character, the eponymously-named Mindy, who was funny, crass, ridiculously self absorbed. Although The Mindy Project was ostensibly a rom-com, it offered a depiction of a woman who was proudly and unapologetically her own person.

Mindy was flawed – she could be crude and narcissistic – but while her character developed over the years, she never let her varied love interests change her vision of who she was. This coupled with the fact that she was portrayed by a woman of Indian descent made the sitcom even more appealing.

Fans not only liked Mindy Lahiri, they liked Mindy Kaling herself, and looked up to her as a role model of fierceness and body positivity. Fans were also fascinated with her real life relationships – particularly with The Office cast-mate B.J. Novak.

Novak and Kaling met when they were both 24 as writer-actors on The Office, and their romance blossomed both on and off the screen. Sadly, the off-screen affair was not meant to be, and the self-described “soup snakes” parted amicably as friends, much to the despair of the many fans who still continue to ship them together.

This August, Kaling announced on the Today show that she was expecting a child. This wasn’t the first time fans were hearing of the news, however. Reports emerged in July that Kaling was pregnant, and her A Wrinkle in Time costar Oprah confirmed the news.

“She did announce it,” the Mindy Project star told Ellen DeGeneres in October as she confirmed that she was, indeed, having a girl. “If anyone is going to announce big news about your private life, Oprah Winfrey is the person. You can’t complain that much about it. And you also can’t be like, “Hey, Oprah, zip it’ — because she’s almost like a religious figure.”

This Friday, Kaling welcomed the first addition to her family – a daughter named Katherine Swati Kaling — at 10:50 a.m. Katherine’s middle name, “Swati,” is of special significance. It is the name of Kaling’s mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

This is not the first time Kaling has honored her mother. The Mindy Project was inspired by her mother’s time spent working as an OB-GYN at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2015 interview with Yahoo magazine, Kaling spoke about her desire to have children.
I think I’ve decided that unlike everything else in my life, I’m going to be fast and loose about kids. I’m going to not actively plan, but if it happens, it would happen. I’m not cavalier about who I would have a kid with. But the thing I ask every parent that I really admire, the one comment they all have is that they wish they had kids earlier.

The identity of Katherine’s father is not listed on her birth certificate, so fans will have to keep speculating as to the identity. They aren’t the only ones left in the lurch, however. In August, Page Six reported that Kaling’s family was disappointed by her sudden pregnancy.  

“For family members who were hoping for a traditional marriage and a son-in-law, this was a shock,” a source said. We’re just happy Katherine is here safe and sound, and we know Mindy will be an amazing mom. If she needs help, bestie BJ will always be there to assist in any way he can.