Kim and Matt, Abbotsford locals

Kim and Matt

I’m always shocked when people don’t remember how many children have been affected by diseases we can now prevent.

Kim’s Story

I’m 41 years old and live in Abbotsford. This is our first baby and he is just gorgeous. I’m a bit of a nomad and I have friends all over the world. I come from a mixed background – my father is Swedish, my mother Malaysian-Chinese. I was born in Sydney, and I’ve lived in Sweden, Malaysia, Japan, the UK and Vanuatu. I love to explore new places. My outlook is very international and I consider that my community is global.

I’m interested in a global lifestyle for my family as well. My husband, Matthew, and I are very keen to take our little boy overseas while he’s still ‘portable’. We think it is very important for him to be exposed to many different cultures and languages and learn to be curious and interested in lots of different things. Matt and I try to minimise our environmental footprint where we can. We don’t own a car and have just moved in to this apartment to downsize. It might seem strange but we want to reduce our impact on the world and so far we are enjoying it. We love camping and hiking, and are keen to get our new family out into the bush and have lots of exposure to nature as soon as possible, even though we live such an urban life.

We are also very interested in cross-cultural child-rearing practices. We are particularly keen on infant-led potty training or ‘elimination communication’, which is about learning to understand your child’s signals that they want to pee or poo – not in their nappy! In many parts of the world people don’t use nappies like we do in the developed world. Instead, babies are encouraged to signal their elimination needs so that they are ‘potty trained’ by one or two years old. Matt and I reckon that cutting out the need for nappies early will have a big positive environmental impact!

My father had tuberculosis as a child, and polio was only eradicated in Australia in the 1960s. These are stark reminders that immunisation has played a huge role in our health today. I’m always shocked when people don’t remember how many children have been affected by diseases we can now prevent.

I’ve worked in international development in Asia and the Pacific Islands, and you can see how devastating and destructive diseases can be in those places – diseases that we are immunised against in Australia. I believe that an anti-immunisation stance is the blinkered perspective of the very privileged – people who have forgotten or choose not to know how much suffering globally is preventable by immunisation. I think that it is our duty to the common good to not share and spread diseases.

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