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Senior Balances School and Parenting

Libby Archer, Editor in Chief

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Senior year has been pretty eventful for Ashley Gould, from leaving her job at Justice in the Chesterfield Mall, becoming one of the captains of the varsity cheer squad, to having a son at age 17. Gould’s baby boy was born the Wednesday before Martin Luther King Jr. break. His name is Ashton Michael Gould and was a surprise to his parents and their family.
“I missed two days of school,” Gould said. “I had him over break and came back the next Tuesday.”
Gould did not know she was pregnant until she was in labor but is now raising Ashton. She loves him very much but because he was a surprise, she did not have all of the essentials for a new born baby.
“A lot of people from my mom’s work have actually given us formula, a baby monitor and other very helpful things,” Gould said. “Her co workers actually bought us a pack and play and a stroller and a few teachers here gave me things for the baby.”
Ashton is taken care of during the day by his father JR Robinson, who graduated from Central last year.
“I have to buy a lot of stuff like formula, clothes and it is very expensive.
My mom has been funding a lot of this but so is JR,” Gould said.
Gould is hoping to attend nursing school next year at Chamberlain. She will have to find another baby sitter for Ashton next year because Robinson is going to try to find another job to fund the baby expenses.
“Babies are not cheap,” Gould said.
This entire experience has brought her closer to her mother, Beth Cook, who she lives with, though her mother is pushing her to figure out what needs to happen in the future for both Ashley and Ashton. Her Cook’s parents were not happy when they first found out the news, but now they are excited to have a great grandchild.
Not everyone has been so accepting.
“I get a lot of judgmental looks. It makes me sad because it was something I didn’t have time to prepare for,” Gould said. She told two of her friends right after Ashton was born, but waited a few weeks to tell others.
“I first told Emma Barnes and Hope Mueller because I know I can tell them anything and they won’t judge me,” Gould said. “They were very excited but also very surprised.” Once she told a few others, the news of the baby traveled quick.
“It’s hard because people I thought were my friends weren’t really there for me. It showed me who my real friends are,” Gould said.
Her body has been one of the largest changes since Ashton’s birth. Because of complications in the birthing process, Gould has had to get her gallbladder removed which caused an immense amount of pain.
She has lost a lot of weight since giving birth.
“This has made it harder for me to wear a lot of my old clothes,” Gould said.
Raising a child and being a full-time student is a lot to handle. She is even having to put being a mother above her own health.
“I am getting no sleep. Occasionally I will get an hour or two of sleep,” Gould said.
She really enjoys combining her two different worlds, and bringing Ashton to school to meet her friends. She said that each time she brings him to school people are worried because he does not wear shoes or socks.
“He won’t wear socks. He just kicks them all off. Even the Velcro,” Gould said.
She is planning on bringing him to graduation and likes bringing him to basketball games while she cheers.
“He should be used to the loud noises because I was pregnant and cheering during the football and basketball season,” Gould said.

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