According to multiple reports, Mindy Kaling gave birth to her first child, a baby girl, on Dec. 15, and the Internet has been obsessed with the tiny tot's newly-minted name: Katherine Kaling. It's got a certain ring to it, no? So, in the aftermath of the powerhouse writer-actor-comedian's particularly discreet pregnancy, inquiring minds are probably wondering why Mindy Kaling named her daughter Katherine. Because, of course, along with a healthy bout of baby-related swooning often comes an equally robust bout of inquiry. Or, at least, it does when you're the first born daughter of Mindy Kaling.
So, did Kaling have some kind of intricately-drawn rationale when she decided on Katherine Kaling? The jury's still out on that one. Though the etymology behind "Katherine" is sort of up for debate (depending on which cultural origins you trace it back to), the classic name is often interpreted to mean "pure." But perhaps the star's inaugural baby name pick wasn't quite so pointed, after all. It's entirely possible that Kaling (like the rest of us) is simply keen on the way the two monikers sound side-by-side. Until Kaling speaks on it, we can really only theorize.
Katherine's middle name, though — which is Swati, according to People — does carry with it a more obviously significant connotation. Swati, whose etymology is rooted in the Indian name for the third-brightest star in the night sky, was also the name of Kaling's late mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.
"My mom was incredibly fierce and so devoted to us, just loved us and really wanted us to be happy no matter what we did," Kaling said during an Aug. 15 interview with the Today Show, when she first confirmed her mom-to-be status.
Kaling has not yet commented on the reports that she welcomed her daughter nor on the origin story behind her name. That's not too surprising, given Kaling's notable silence when it came to baby details throughout the course of her pregnancy. Because, despite the funny-gal frankness that has characterized much of her career, when it comes to her private life, the 38-year-old star is notoriously, well, private.
"My professional life is the only thing that I feel I have a lot of control over — romantic stuff is a little bit more mysterious," she told American Way magazine in an interview published in September. Kaling still hasn't opened up about the identity of Katherine's father or whether she used a sperm donor.
News of Kaling's forthcoming bundle of joy first broke back in July, when several anonymous sources told E! News that Kaling was, in fact, expecting. It wasn't until the following month that Kaling herself broke the silence about her pregnancy news in an interview with the Today show, wherein she expressed her excitement about becoming a mom. "I'd like to be the fun mom, I know I'm gonna be the dorky mom," she said. "So if I can be kind of fun too, I think that would be nice."
Kaling wasn't even the first to reveal the sex of her baby (it wasn't until Kaling's October interview with Ellen DeGeneres, when The Mindy Project star confirmed rumors that she was expecting a girl). Instead, it was her decidedly less close-mouthed Mindy Project co-stars, as well as Wrinkle In Time co-star — and real-life friend — Oprah Winfrey, who officially let the cat out of the bag.
"At first it was like, 'OK, if anyone was going to announce big news about your private life, Oprah Winfrey is the person,'" Kaling said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "You can't complain that much about it. You also can't be like, 'Hey, Oprah, zip it.' Because she's almost like a religious figure."
"I actually thought, 'Well, OK, if there's one person I have to tell my daughter about that revealed her existence to the world, Oprah's pretty good," Kaling added. "At a certain point, I was like, you can't take it back, so I thought — there are worse things."
During her interview with DeGeneres, Kaling did reveal that she'd known the baby's sex for quite some time. "I am not waiting," she said. "I wanted to know way early." Suffice it to say, while Kaling might be keeping hush-hush about the inspiration behind her daughter's fabulous name, she did have quite some time to mull it over before the baby's arrival. Over to Ms. Winfrey for further commentary.