There is an age gap between J and me, as there probably is between most couples, unless you've managed to find someone born on exactly the same day and month as you and in the same year. Unlikely.
However, it is only ever really cause for conversation when it is a large age gap. 19 years, say, is an age gap that everyone seems to have an opinion on - both good and bad.
I wouldn't say that it's ever held us back in our relationship. It was never an issue to me and while J took some convincing to start seeing a 19 year old, I think that was more to do with other people's perceptions of us than genuine reluctance on his part.
We are approaching the anniversary of our first kiss (I know; I remember too much!); of four years together. Now, for me, four years is a long time, not far off a fifth of my life. For J, it is pobably not such a big deal, but this is my first relationship and I intend for it to be my only, and to include all the major events of a life - new homes, experiences, marriage and children.
Ah yes, children. You may have noticed that we have made great (and speedy) progress down this avenue. Mini and Sunshine are beautiful manifestations of our love, though both were conceived without much planning. Mini, particularly, was a surprise. In fact, she hid herself from us for five whole months.
You see, I did not think I would be able to have children. I have never had regular periods; since I was 12, they have occurred sporadically, sometimes disappearing for the best part of a year at a time. From what I remembered from sex education classes at school, this was the crux of the baby-making process. Essentially, a period showed you that you were fertile. In my young mind, this always meant that I was not really very fertile at all, maybe once a year I would be, but that was it. And so I entered my first relationship still firm in the belief that I would never have any children, and we went from there.
I suppose the fact that J didn't really ask any questions regarding the above must have meant that he was happy whichever way the story went and, sure enough, when he convinced me to take a test and we both watched it show up positive, he was over the moon. Much happier than I was at the time, but I believe I was in some shock.
I went to see the doctor, who confirmed that I was pregnant and 20 weeks gone at that.
Going from thinking you will never be a mother to finding out you're halfway there at the age of 20, was a big surprise. A delightful surprise, though, and when Mini was born, our family was complete.
After Mini's arrival, I assumed I would stop at one child. One is more than I could ever have hoped for, and J has a son who stays with us at weekends, so there was no desperate urge to have a boy.
Months passed, and we agreed that maybe we would try for another one when Mini started school. This was something for me to look forward to, as I already missed being pregnant, and Mini was so advanced that the baby stage passed all too quickly.
On Christmas Eve 2009, I remember J and I having a conversation that ended with us agreeing to stop using contraception and on September 24th 2010, Sunshine was born.
So, you see, fertility isn't the issue I once thought it was.
Sunshine is now approaching the nine month mark and already I am trying to resist the urge to ask for another one. J and I have had conversations that generally begin by me saying something along the lines of "I really want another baby", and have made a plan that we will try for our third child when we are more financially stable and have more time to devote to another baby. This, we have decided, will be when I am 30.
While this is not ideal, I am happy that we have set the date, so to speak, and that we will one day do it all over again, or at least try to. But this is not always enough. I still want a baby so, so much, to the point where I am jealous of pregnant women, and envious of photos of new mothers cradling their impossibly tiny babies.
Also, I am scared. Scared that we will try and nothing will happen, scared that we will conceive but something will go terribly, unspeakably wrong, and scared that (and this is the most difficult one), J will change his mind.
This is where the age gap comes back into play, after years of not mattering. It is perfectly possible that J, being 19 years my senior, will decide that he is done with nappies and bottles and that will be that. No more babies.
And I will be happy with my two perfect, beautiful, intelligent children, forever happy that they are in my life. But I think I will still be wondering what it would be like it there were three of them. Or four...or five...