Ashleigh Hyde wants to be an inspiration to other sportswomen after returning for York City Knights just seven weeks after giving birth.
Hyde was back on the field in a 42-14 victory over Featherstone.
“Just over seven weeks ago I had a little boy,” Hyde told the PA news agency.
“You know what, I think it’s really hard as a woman to get your head around how much your life will change.
“You love your baby no matter what, you love your children, but knowing that things in your life do have to sort of switch around and you have to make things work for your family life so it’s quite difficult really but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Hyde added: “It’s been amazing to see people’s comments as well, it’s been really overwhelming but it’s nice to see women share it and men share it and hopefully other women in sports will see that I’ve come back and I’ve returned okay and that they can do it and hopefully give them a little bit of inspiration.”
Due to the pandemic it was Hyde’s first game back since March 2020 and she was forced to fit her entire pre-season into just two weeks.
Hyde said: “My very short pre-season was very tiring I was shattered, but I enjoyed it.
“I’m training just as normal now, I was taking it easy at first but I think playing gave me a little bit of confidence that I can do it and I can sort of push through the tiredness and things.”
Hyde started against Featherstone and said she was grateful for the opportunity.
She said: “It was (hard coming back so soon), especially now our team is so solid and to get myself a shirt I knew that I would have to work hard, so I’ve just been really, really trying and I feel so privileged that I was allowed to play on Sunday and that the coach has trusted me.”