8-barbieri-garriockThey are not the first to return to football after childbirth but the continuation of the football careers of Melissa Barbieri and Heather Garriock have been no less momentous.

Both are stalwarts of the national team and when they announced their pregnancies last year, we all waited with baited breath to see how they would return.

Barbieri returned remarkably after just 3 1/2 months with Garriock not long after.  Both have returned to the W-League with Garriock instantly proving a real difference as captain of the Western Sydney Wanderers while Barbieri has put in blinding performances that surely have her in the reckoning for Goalkeeper of the Year.

Football, and Australian sport, in general has been sadly lacking in providing us with examples of strong and inspirational sporting mothers.

Both Barbieri and Garriock have returned to the game through sheer perseverance and plenty of sacrifice; by them and their families.  Both have had to self fund their returns with Barbieri forced into selling many precious and irreplaceable memorabilia.

They have also highlighted just how many additional challenges female footballers have to overcome to represent to represent us at the highest level.