The mental load starts for women during pregnancy and this man sums it up in a 20-second comedy reel – but the reality hits harder than the laugh

It's not easy to juggle everything as a mother, and as one comedian has displayed online, the mental load of motherhood begins right from pregnancy.

Pregnant woman holding paperwork in one hand and touching her head with the other
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A male comedian has taken to Instagram to poke fun at the differences between men and women during pregnancy – and while it’s played for laughs, it really hits home the reality.

When you’re a parent, there’s always so much to consider. Maybe you were stuck between breastfeeding and breast pumping when becoming a parent for the first time, or perhaps you feel those back-to-school worries every September. And often, it’s mums who carry the brunt of the mental and emotional load – here’s how to explain the mental load to your partner if you’re one lost shopping list and yet another load of laundry past the end of your tether!

The comedian George Lewis has poked at the differences between how men and women act during pregnancy in an Instagram video. It might be humorous, but it also highlights how the mental load can start before your children are even out into the world. 

In the video, which is entitled ‘Women v Men – Preparing For a Baby’, Lewis pretends to be a woman during pregnancy, saying to himself, “Got to get the house ready, get the nursery ready, buy a cot, buy a pram, bottles, milk, babygrows, muslins, bedding. Need to think about work, how they’re going to take it, how it’ll affect my career.

He moves through going on a first aid course, thinking about childcare, bodily changes, buying new clothes, looking for a new diet, and taking supplements, before finishing, “I need to make sure I’m emotionally ready for the biggest change I’m ever going to have.”

He then pretends to be a man while his partner is pregnant, and simply says, “I think I’ll enter a triathlon.”

While it’s meant to be funny, it clearly resonates with plenty of mums out there, with many of his followers tagging their friends and loved ones. One tagged a friend and asked, “Sound about right?” while another put a laughing emoji, and said, “So true!”

Some viewers took it more seriously, one saying “It never changes from then,” while another said about the clip, “[It] makes me feel the same anger and confusion and loneliness as I did over two years ago.”

Lewis has almost perfectly summed up matrecsence, a relatively new term that describes the process of becoming a mother and the changes you go through while pregnant and adjusting to motherhood, whether physical, psychological, or emotional. It’s a time when mothers are too often expected to simply ‘bounce back’ from pregnancy and adjust to having a newborn in their lives – while otherwise carrying on as normal. 

Lewis is a father himself, and has a book, Don’t Panic! All the Stuff the Expectant Dad Needs to Know, which came out in 2022. 

Freelance writer

Adam is an experienced writer who regularly covers the royal family and celebrity news for the likes of Goodto, The List, The Metro, and Entertainment Daily. However, you can also find Adam covering relationships, mental health, pet care, and contributing to titles such as Creative Bloq.