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Mindy Kaling gives inspiring speech about single motherhood at Dartmouth commencement

by Bryanna Cappadona / / Source: TODAY

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Since becoming a mom to her first child, daughter Katherine Swati, last December, Mindy Kaling has been open about the ups and downs of becoming a parent.

On Sunday, the "Ocean's 8" actress opened up once more, this time as the commencement speaker at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. In her address to the graduates, Kaling got candid about her initial anxieties as a single mother.

"After my daughter was born in December, I remember bringing her home and being in my house with her for the first time and thinking, 'Huh, according to movies and TV, this is traditionally the time when my mother and spouse are supposed to be here, sharing this experience with me,'" she said. "And I looked around, and I had neither. And for a moment, it was kind of scary. Like, 'Can I do this by myself?'"

Kaling grew up close with her mother, Swati Roysircar, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2012. The actress has also never spoken publicly about baby Katherine's paternity. Kaling said in her address, however, that those initial feelings of loneliness soon disappeared.

"(T)he reality is, I'm not doing it by myself," she added. "I'm surrounded by family and friends who love and support me. And the joy I feel from being with my daughter, Katherine, eclipses anything from any crazy checklist."

This was all to say that the graduates sitting before Kaling shouldn't be "scared" if they "don't do things in the right order" or "don't do some things at all." Instead, she encouraged the graduates to embrace the adventure of life's unexpected paths — no matter how big or small.

"I didn't think I'd have a child before I got married, but hey, it turned out that way, and I wouldn't change a thing," she said. "I didn't think I'd have dessert before breakfast today, but hey, it turned out that way and I wouldn't change a thing."

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