Parents

Mindy Kaling on being a new mom: 'I'm in a constant state of worry'

Mindy Kaling gave birth to her daughter Katherine Swati back in December. Since then, the writer and actress has shared exactly zero photos of her baby.

“People say, ‘Did you even have a baby?’ Kaling joked in an exclusive interview with TODAY.com. “I’m keeping her under wraps for now. I would kill someone who said anything about her.”

She fully respects other actresses who post photos of their offspring, but Kaling isn’t emotionally there yet. “I’m such a worrier — I can’t do that. I’m far too fragile. She’ll be big enough and people will see her. Am I even doing the right thing? Maybe she’ll be mad at me later on but I’ll deal with it then,” she said.

Speaking of maternal anxiety, Kaling told TODAY Parents she is adjusting to its constant presence in her life.

“I knew how much I would love her and love the experience of being with her. I never understood how much I would worry and how much that worry is unceasing,” she said. “Happiness for me, now, is just a feeling of relief. I’m in a constant state of worry but I’m enjoying it too. I hope she’s developing correctly — I’m anxious constantly. I’m hoping that will change a little bit. I haven’t even thought about when she’s bigger.”

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As 'The Mindy Project' comes to an end, Mindy Kaling is excited to be a 'dorky mom'

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As 'The Mindy Project' comes to an end, Mindy Kaling is excited to be a 'dorky mom'

Play Video - 8:06

Motherhood, to Kaling, “is so rewarding in a way you can’t explain. I look back at myself — it’s very crazy to me. I feel brave having done it.”

As for her daughter’s name, there’s no hidden meaning. "I always loved the name. I have a lot of great Katherines and Katies in my life,” she said.

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Mindy Kaling welcomes baby daughter; Eva Longoria is pregnant

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Mindy Kaling welcomes baby daughter; Eva Longoria is pregnant

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Kaling reconnects with her younger self by starring in “A Wrinkle in Time,” as Mrs. Who, alongside Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. Growing up in Boston, Kaling, who graduated from Dartmouth College, was a huge sci-fi nerd.

“That was the entry book for me for reading about fantasy,” she said.

Playing Mrs. Who, however, was a slightly bigger stretch. “I’m so expressive and have such strong opinions so playing my whole part as someone who’s saying quotations — I realized this woman’s energy is different from mine. She’s the quietest of the three. I put my own personality on the back burner. I love my opinions and think I’m right. It was such a challenge to shut up and speak through other people,” she said.

Kaling also co-created and stars in the NBC comedy “Champions,” playing a single mom.

“Priya is so funny,” said Kaling of her character. "The biggest difference between us is that she feels kind of lonely and is looking for some excitement. I have too much excitement in my life and I want to chill. I want to go home and sleep a little bit.”

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What will Mindy Kaling do after 'The Mindy Project'?

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What will Mindy Kaling do after 'The Mindy Project'?

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She brings her daughter to set, and hangs out with her in her trailer. “We just make it work. She’s entertained by anything,” said Kaling.

She looked to friends like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to see how they manage big careers and raising children. And Kaling isn’t afraid to admit that she’s not doing it alone.

“I have help. I’m lucky enough that I can afford to have help. I don’t have a husband or a mother. How can I make this easier for myself?” she mused, referring to her mom, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

That means Kaling is open to advice, and listening to other parents when they share their nuggets of child-rearing wisdom. Take comedian James Corden, a father of three.

“He has a baby who is my baby’s age. I did his show a couple of weeks ago. He told me the best thing you can do for a baby is constantly talk to them, even if you feel like you’re babbling to them,” said Kaling. “Since he told me that, I’ve been talking to her so much. In the couple of weeks since I upped my talking to her, she seems to be really reacting and listening. I do feel foolish doing it. I’m babbling like a lunatic. It’s hard to come up with more things to talk to her about: 'Last night I went to the premiere.' I’m just a personal Wikipedia page for her.”

Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images
Mindy Kaling is in the spotlight these days as one of the stars of "A Wrinkle in Time," but she works hard to keep her baby daughter Katherine OUT of the spotlight.

And someday, Katherine may realize just how accomplished her mom is, both behind and in front of the camera.

“I work harder because of the kid. I want to do things she’ll be proud of and tell her friends about,” said Kaling. “Both of these projects are things I hope she’ll watch when she’s older.”

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