Mindy Kalingis about the embark on a very big, and very scary, life milestone: It’s the final season of The Mindy Project, the show that she created, writes and stars in. After six seasons on the air and a dramatic move from network television to streaming after the sitcom was dropped by FOX and picked up by Hulu, it truly is the end of an era.
But as one era ends, a new one is just beginning: In a not-so-surprising case of life imitating art, the star is expecting a baby. Considering how beloved the 38-year-old is by her legions of fans, the prospect of having another Mindy out in the world is beyond exciting.
According to a source close to Kaling, the pregnancy was “an unexpected surprise.” She reportedly began telling friends in mid-July while she was starting production for the show’s final season. She was thrilled to share the news with those closest to her, but it would be weeks before she confirmed anything to her adoring public—and she has kept mum about the father to everyone.
During the final weeks of the summer Kaling went about her very busy schedule, shooting The Mindy Project, tending her executive producer duties and attending the requisite public appearances, all while leaving the news of her pregnancy, which had spread across the Internet at that point, up to speculation. It was an uncharacteristic move for the actress, who up until that point had been an enthusiastic sharer; and in fact it says more about how she’s approaching motherhood than everything else.
Because what everyone does know is that Mindy Kaling is an overachiever. Slacking is a term that has probably never crossed her mind. It (presumably) all started during her Cambridge, Mass., upbringing, where she was raised by an architect father and a gynecologist mother—as her fans know, the onscreen Mindy Lahiri is loosely based on her mother. She attended Dartmouth College and in the years before she was hired on The Office she famously interned for Conan O’Brien. She is laser-focused and wildly successful, so it’s easy to assume that she’ll tackle motherhood with the same fervor.
But first she has to get through pregnancy. She has yet to speak about her experiences, but at The Mindy Project’s big final season premiere her costars offered E! News some insight into how she has been faring. The cast has been together for six seasons now so to say they are close would be an understatement. As Ike Barinholtz, who stars as Morgan Tookers in addition to writing and producing, pointed out, they were all particularly helpful once the news broke.
“We’re pampering her,” he explained. “We are giving her a steady bag of Tapatio Doritos and lots of healthy green shakes. And we’re nap Nazis, so we’ll be like, hey, you gotta go take a nap. And Craft Services has actually changed, they’re giving us healthy choices and we’re making sure that her and her womb are getting the foods that they need so badly.”
Ed Weeks, who plays Jeremy Reed, echoed that sentiment but also took care to say that Kaling certainly isn’t in need of their help.
“We’re all being very much like, are you okay?” he joked. “But she never wants to complain. She must, I imagine, be exhausted, because she’s creating a whole other human being. But she’s already created six seasons of a fantastic show so I think it’s already in her wheelhouse.”
Besides all the pampering and bottomless Doritos, Kaling has been confiding in her mom friends. She’s developed a friendship with her A Wrinkle in Time costar Reese Witherspoon—so much so that she even joined The Mindy Project for an episode this season—who is no doubt a wealth of pregnancy knowledge, having gone through it three times now. And Xosha Roquemore, otherwise known as Tamra, told E! News, they bonded over baby talk on set.
“I myself just had a baby so the biggest difference [in our relationship] is that we talk about that a lot,” she said. “We talk about nannies, weight gain, weight loss and the crazy side effects that can happen postpartum because your body goes through it. And healthy eating is important because you’re eating for two.”
Um, no one tell Xosha about the Doritos, okay?
And even though Kaling has yet to mention her impending motherhood in live interviews or on her still-very-active Instagram (although she has debuted her predictably chic baby bump), she did confirm the news during a sit-down interview with Sunday Today’s Willie Geist. The host paid a visit to the show’s set in its final days and she gave the tiniest bit of insight into her current emotions and what she has up her sleeve for the baby.
“Right now I just feel so anxious,” she told Geist. “But I’d like to be the fun mom. I know I’m gonna be the dorky mom. So it could be kind of fun, too. I think that would be nice.”
It’s hard to imagine she won’t be the funniest mom on the playground, too. And as for her future plans for what is rumored to be baby girl, she said laughingly, “People tell me that when they have children they like to spend time with them, so I’d like to spend time with my child.”
In between that quality time she’ll be quite the busy Hollywood mogul. Kaling hasn’t confirmed her due date, but Barinholtz told E! News that it would be “a few months” after the show’s finale, which would be very approximately mid-January. The actress will be shooting a movie (that she also wrote) with Emma Thompson in the spring—it’s about a late-night talk show host—and is also expected to be doing press for her roles in Ocean’s Eight and A Wrinkle in Time.
She also created a TV show for NBC that will feature many of the same staff as The Mindy Project. Her schedule for these projects are still up in the air, but as a surprise to no one, Mindy Kaling isn’t slowing down at all.