Mindy Kaling recently gave birth to her first child, a little girl, in December. And her birth certificate shows that the new mom named her daughter Katherine Swati — her middle name, in memory of her mother who died in 2012 after battling pancreatic cancer.
But some people have noted that Kaling hasn’t disclosed who her baby’s father is. In fact, Page Six reported that Kaling intentionally left Katherine’s father’s name off her birth certificate.Mindy Kaling/Instagram
Yahoo! Style reported in 2015 that the actress wanted to start having kids “maybe imminently.”
“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.”
Despite Kaling’s openness about her desire for children, according to Page Six, there haven’t been any reports about her dating anyone since 2012.
E! News reported in July 2017 that an unnamed source said that the pregnancy was unexpected. It left some people with hopes that the father could be BJ Novak, her “The Office” co-star with whom she had shared a romantic relationship:
Personal hero @mindykaling has GIVEN BIRTH TO A GIRL she is legit going to be the best person ever (all that needs to happen now is for her to reveal BJ Novak as the father and I’m done). pic.twitter.com/8W1yiNksOU
— Rahee Mapara (@RaheeMapara) December 20, 2017
But some believe that Kaling doesn’t owe anyone an explanation of who the father is or any details surrounding her pregnancy.
According to Lisa Dunn in Elite Daily, pregnant women often experience a lack of privacy, people touching their bellies or being asked oddly personal questions.
Pregnancy inhabits a strange space: it is at once an intensely private experience and very public. The intimacy of pregnancy, oftentimes, is forgotten or even deliberately ignored. Privacy during pregnancy — or, frankly, motherhood — is a battle. There is, of course, a collective public obsession with fertility, which comes up in myriad ways: when people ask couples when they’re going to have children, what their plans are, and, for single mothers, whether or not the pregnancy was planned. Nowhere is this inappropriate obsession more apparent than with visibly pregnant women.
There’s a stigma associated with single motherhood, even though the way she got pregnant may not be reflective at all of who she is, but due to life circumstances.
Women can become single moms because the circumstances are out of their control. It could be an unplanned pregnancy. Maybe dad jumped ship when he learned of the pregnancy, or maybe a woman’s husband died while serving in the military.Mindy Kaling/Instagram
Single motherhood could be the woman’s choice, too — and she may have healthy reasons for it. Maybe the woman left an abusive partner to protect her baby and herself, or a woman unable to find the right partner may opt for in-vitro sterilization to have the baby she’d always dreamed of.
But no matter the reason, people tend to associate single motherhood with negativity. And people feel entitled to know not only the details of the pregnancy, but the circumstances that led to having a baby — and ultimately, that’s no one’s business but hers, especially if the issues surrounding it are sensitive in nature.
Mindy Kaling had her baby and I’m weeping bc I’m simultaneously so happy for her and so upset I don’t know if BJ Novak is the dad
— cheryl blossom impersonator (@_cornpalace) December 20, 2017
As reported by Brain, Child Magazine, a woman named Suzy Vitello was widowed at 26, when her husband was killed in a car crash a mere four days before she gave birth to her second baby.
Vitello said that people assumed she was helpless.
“People wanted to take care of me. I was put in the category of vulnerable, somebody who might make bad decisions. I felt most on guard with people who were trying to swoop me up, make me live with them, tell me what I needed to do next. I felt like I didn’t need that. I had been raised very independently.”
A few years later, Vitello divorced her second husband, and the questions and comments she’d received contained traces of judgment or blame.
“I think that people are saddened by failure. Because the man-woman-children relationship is culturally the architecture for stability, people project their own fears about failure onto that, depending on where they’re coming from culturally or religiously. They need to know who was the cheater, who was the drug abuser. If there was none of that, they want to know why you didn’t try hard enough. They want to know what’s wrong with you.”
This is the reality for some people — for some, it’s a choice they made. For others, it’s not. For Vitello, the questions and judgments had a negative impact. As for Kaling, Dunn said that the public’s “[d]emanding to know who fathered Kaling’s baby has been compounded by the fact that she is a public figure.”
But public figure or not, contrasted by the obviousness of their growing baby bumps, single mothers deserve to keep the circumstances surrounding their pregnancies, or their children’s births, as private as they would like them to be.
Rather than asking who Kaling’s baby daddy is, people need to turn inward and ask themselves why they feel entitled to her explanation.