Heading into the final season of Kaling’s Hulu sitcom, the actress’ fictional Mindy will see her marriage fall apart and motherhood woes come front and center.
When the series began “marriage was a big [goal] for Mindy and now finally has it and what’s fun about this season is showing the reality of marriage and what lived up to expectations and what didn’t — and then frankly getting disillusioned with it over the course of the season,” the actress told reporters at the Television Critics Association panel for her show at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills on Thursday, where she debuted her baby bump in a dark, knee-length dress.
“I think she’s going to learn a little bit more about how to be a good, involved parent. We have a really funny episode where [Modern Family‘s] Julie Bowen plays a rival mother who thinks that Mindy’s not doing that great of a job,” added executive producer Matt Warburton.
“The episode is a little bit about mom shaming and that’s cool. It was really fun and hit a lot of those juicy ripped-from-the-blogger-headline storylines,” added Kaling, 38, who is expecting her first child in real life.
But producing, writing and starring in the final season of her Hulu sitcom while pregnant is not making the actress feel at all like a superhero.
“I think for most people who do a couple different jobs on their shows … I think that you never have a feeling of patting yourself on the back,” she said. “You’re always thinking What am I letting slip through the cracks?”
Fans were pleasantly surprised when news broke July 17 that the actress and author is expecting her first child.
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“Mindy is really motherly to the people she loves and cares about. She takes care of them,” an industry insider told PEOPLE. “Being a mom is something she’s always talked about, but never spoke of a set plan or anything in terms of a timeline of when she wanted it to happen.”
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A source has said the actress “just started telling her friends that she’s pregnant, but she’s not telling anyone — not even close friends — who the father is.”
Kaling has said being pregnant is “a sacred thing,” but the Hulu star told PEOPLE in 2015 that she’d stopped looking at getting married and having a child as a goal, explaining, “I have to stop making lists and hopes for myself because if they don’t happen, then I feel I haven’t achieved my full potential.”
- For more on Mindy Kaling’s happy news — including what book she might be reading to her little one in the near future — pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
At that time, The Office alum also said she felt happiest when she was “able to sleep for eight or nine hours after having, like, two Moscow mules.”
But following a moment of reflection, she second-guessed her answer. “I don’t have children,” she said. “Maybe looking into your child’s eyes is a better answer.”
Season 6 of The Mindy Project premieres Sept. 12 on Hulu and will feature returning guest stars Chris Messina and Adam Pally.