These past 12 months have gone by in a flash. In this short time, through many ups and downs, I embarked on arguably two of the most promising yet challenging adventures in my personal and professional career.

I am a woman and a wife; a former academic and a politician.

Earlier last year, I was elected to parliament and appointed a parliamentary secretary. A tall order in itself.

And, then, a few weeks ago, I became a mother for the first time.

The challenges stemming from both developments are indeed different; and, yet, these past few days have made me recognise more than ever how inextricably interlinked they are.

As a politician, I have a determined say in the present and future of our country. By working hand-in-hand with my colleagues in parliament, from both parties, we politicians have a key role in shaping our future. 

And, yet, as parents, don’t we have the same power vis-à-vis our children? Our surroundings, our decisions, the lessons and opportunities that we so freely bequeath to our children on an hourly basis... aren’t we the major drivers in shaping their future?

I was both blessed and honoured to be elected an MP and then appointed a parliamentary secretary in Prime Minister Robert Abela’s government. As a young electoral candidate, I was filled with both a sense of excitement and immense trepidation. To be given the opportunity to represent the hopes and expectations of my fellow citizens is an aspiration not many are given the opportunity to pursue.

The days might be long and the nights may be getting even more restless. And, indeed, criticism of this government remains ever-present in certain segments of public discourse. But to pass up this chance to help shape the country we love and develop a brighter and more productive future for all our citizens seemed to me inconceivable at the time.

And, yet, I didn’t even come close to my first anniversary as an elected MP when I embarked on the other great life adventure. Two suddenly became three.

We are wary of the consequences that wrong decisions can have on our future- Alicia Bugeja Said

Ricki Lake did once describe motherhood as “the greatest thing and the hardest thing”. Indeed, my first few days in this life-long adventure of parenthood have been quite eventful. I’m ever grateful for the never-ending support from my husband and the rest of the family.

The events of the past few days have reaffirmed my conviction that every decision we take as legislators may leave a legacy that impacts not only us as adults but also our children and our children’s children. The legal and political changes that we bring forth daily can lead our country to diverging paths that resonate in the future.

As Diana Spalding once wrote, “Motherhood is political. It is perhaps the most political occupation one can have”. As a mother, and as a politician, this personally resonates with me, now perhaps than ever.

National and international issues related to healthcare, motherhood, civil rights and also policies I am responsible for, such as the preservation of our marine biodiversity and local food production, are  sectors with never-ending questions that need continuous addressing, both today and in the future.

I am lucky to be part of a government which seeks to tackle the most difficult obstacles head-on; this administration proactively seeks to enact the changes needed by our country, in all relevant sectors.

We are wary of the consequences that wrong decisions can have on our future. We also understand that sweeping pending issues under the carpet is an abdication with massive repercussions for our children’s future.

As a politician and MP, I feel that this is my constitutional duty. As a mother, it has become a moral and personal obligation.

Alicia Bugeja Said is Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Animal Welfare.

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