to be a woman

to be a mother

to be a professional

to be educated and ambitious

to be in a relationship

to have children

to be an expatriate

to be who you are

where you are

 you find yourself making choices

your life is a pile of puzzle pieces

you think and look and you shuffle the pieces

you try and go to work and it doesn‘t work

there is no work for you in this city

you have children

you have no childcare

you stay at home 

you are miserable

you stay at home 

you are happy

you go to work and it works

there is no work for your partner in this city

you are an expatriate

you are a mother




Nelly (Duccio),

France Midwife, public health

French Italian Partner

Mother to four children 11, 8, 6, 3 years old


I work for Médecins Sans Frontières, at the medical department.

I’ve been here, in Geneva, at the home office for two and a half years now. We were on-site before. My husband also works in humanitarian work. He hasn’t had a permanent job since we moved here, and although he is looking for it, at the moment it’s fine. He has worked a lot in the last fifteen years, so it’s good that it’s not always him who works.

We have four children conceived in Afghanistan, Chad and Burundi. They are being brought up in a double culture, but I always gave birth in Paris. I find that birth is a powerful moment. It is important for me to have that anchoring point, for them to know where they come from. Thereafter, we may live anywhere in the world.

I always thought that big families were great, so I fancied the idea of having one myself, but I always wanted to have my professional life too and to be able to reconcile the two. Up to now, I’ve managed, later on, we’ll see, the children are still young.


About Marina Cavazza & Egle Kackute

Photos by Marina Cavazza, texts by Egle Kackute.

Marina Cavazza and Egle Kackute, expatriates from Italy and Lithuania respectively, have been photographing and interviewing other expatriate mums (and s…Read more


More posts by Marina Cavazza & Egle Kackute

One Response to “Portrait of a (Working) Mother 6/25”

  1. Helen Sargeant

    This image is so intimate and tender. Its so positive to see an everyday image of a dad caring for his children- being maternal.
    I enjoy the construction of this photograph the blue of the girl’s eyes in relation to the blue of the tights that the dad is holding up.


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