Hi, I’m Jena, mom of 4. I’m also a doctor in physical therapy, and that’s why you see me wearing this lovely lab coat! I love to help people for my job and I want to help you, as my new friend.
Before you get to know me, I first want to ask you some questions. If you answer “YES” to any of them, then you know you came to the right place for answers!
In my blog, I answer these questions and many others that you may have along your motherhood journey.
So here we go!
- Are you currently pregnant and don’t feel like you are as prepared as you would like to be?
- Do you want more tips and advice on how to have a great childbirth experience, maybe even a pain free childbirth or a natural childbirth?
- Do you want a medical professional’s advice on how to get back into shape after having a baby?
- Are you looking for ways to flatten your belly faster postpartum?
- Do you need help figuring out whether or not you have diastasis recti (abdominal separation)?
- And do you want to know how to properly treat diastasis recti (abdominal separation)?
- Do you want to learn practical tips from an experienced mom on how to best raise your new born baby and/or children?
- Do you wish your family was more active and are looking for more ways to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?
If you said “YES,” then you definitely came to the right place! Awesome!
Now, I want to tell you all about why I started my blog and bit more about me!
Why I started this blog
Welcome to my blog, Live Core Strong. I am so excited you are here joining me on this blogging adventure. I believe God always has a plan and a purpose for someone’s life, and this blog was created through a series of events that happened in my life that I know God orchestrated for me.
I currently work as a Physical Therapist specializing in home health treatment, but I have worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehab, women’s health, outpatient rehab and long term acute care. My workload constantly fluctuates, and I was going through a particularly slow season in my schedule after just giving birth to my 4th daughter. However, my passion for health and motherhood stirred in me a desire to continue to be productive with my time.
What really lead me to thinking about blogging in the first place was when my husband went to take my two daughters to their swim lesson for a make-up class which was on a different day then their normal swim class. He happened to run into an old college friend that he had not seen in years. After catching up and talking to him, he learned that he and his wife run a blog full time. When my husband came home to tell me he ran into his friend and that they blog for their career, I was intrigued.
I didn’t really understand blogging. I had never really followed any bloggers before. So I went to their website (justagirlandherblog.com), and one of the areas her blog focused on was educating others on how to start a blog. I became even more interested. She blogs about blogging. That’s pretty cool. I spent the night reading her blog and learning the basics. I found myself getting excited about the idea of starting my own blog. My father-in-law always said that if you have a feeling of excitement and a passion to work hard for something, that it is usually God trying to guide you down the road you are supposed to travel.
So what should I blog about? Well, much of my inspiration was created when I found out my brother and sister-in-law were pregnant with their first baby.
I knew I had a ton of knowledge and experience with pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, parenting and health. My sister-in-law always came to me for advice and questions throughout her pregnancy. Soon after finding out she was pregnant, my cousin announced she was pregnant with her first.
Again, I was excited to share with her my experiences involving my 4 pregnancies. Then, another one of my cousins announced they were expecting their first child. Such an exciting time for my family! I just had my 4th baby and now three other family members are all pregnant with their first child. What better way to help them during their pregnancies then to write it in a blog format where others can benefit from the same information I had been sharing with my family.
How I got the name Live Core Strong
When I decided I was going to take the plunge and actually create this blog, I started to write a few sample posts to see if I could actually write some helpful material for moms regarding exercise, pregnancy, parenting and family fitness. I started having lots of ideas come to mind. My first post that I wrote was about having a strong core. The core muscles are my favorite part of the body to exercise, and I found myself excited to have an opportunity to write about the importance of having a strong core as part of one’s overall health.
Branching off that idea, I was also excited to write about how your core is where your baby develops. Having a strong core allows you to best handle the physical changes your body goes through as your belly and baby grow.
The definition of “core” is: the central or most important part of something. So your core does not just represent having strong abdominal/trunk muscles. The family is the core (or most important part) of your home. I don’t want this blog to be just for moms but for the entire family. My goal is to help you create a strong family unit in your home through fitness, health and education.
Live Core Strong exists to motivate the next generation of healthy mothers and their families by providing medical recommendations and practical advice on fitness and parenting with the goal of creating a strong core lifestyle which is the foundation to a healthy body and unified family.
Facts about me
I am a 35 year old mom of 4 girls and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I graduated from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh, which is the #1 ranked school for physical therapy in the United States. I grew up in Erie, PA where my mom raised my brother and I as a single parent. My dad, who stayed very involved in my life, was a commercial airline pilot which led me to my love for traveling. I currently reside in Pittsburgh, PA. I am a Christian woman who is very involved in my church, and most importantly in my relationship with my heavenly Father. I volunteer in the church’s nursery, am a member of the Women’s Ministry and am a Financial Peace University (FPU) coordinator for Dave Ramsey (Click HERE if you are interested in Dave Ramsey’s FPU class). I have been married to Darren, the love of my life, since 2009. Without him, I would not be the woman I am today.
Ice cream and pizza are my two favorite foods (not too healthy, but that’s ok), being outdoors, enjoying nature and God’s creation, reading the Bible and going to church, exercising, traveling, quality family time, gardening, watching my girls participate in sports/dance, cooking, budgeting (I am a big supporter of Dave Ramsey) and last but not least, practicing physical therapy and helping my patients to feel better. This leads me to my next section…
Why I became a Physical Therapist
During my teenage years, I became passionate about exercise. I started to watch workout videos and read fitness magazines. When it came time to start thinking about my college major, I was pretty interested in sports and came across the career of athletic training. It sounded like the perfect job for me – exercise and athletics. I went to Mercyhurst University and majored in Sports Medicine with a concentration in Athletic Training. After learning a little more about Athletic Training and the demanding hours and typical schedule an athletic trainer has, I began to second guess my career choice. I wanted to be a mom, but I did not want to be a mom who has to work weekends and late nights at sporting events. After meeting with my teacher/mentor, he advised me to consider Physical Therapy as my career path. After shadowing a few physical therapy sites, I fell in love with the occupation.
Physical Therapy is my dream job. I absolutely love everything about it. I love teaching people of all ages how to exercise to heal their body. I love finding ways to use equipment to strengthen and restore injuries. I am able to meet and interact with all kinds of patients, develop relationships with my patients and connect with them on a one-on-one basis. Best of all, I get to serve them and help my patients to ultimately feel better. I love how God can use me to heal people and restore their lives so they can function more normally and with less pain. And an extra bonus, I love the regular hours!
I started out as a traveling therapist after graduation and worked in Texas for 2 years doing contract work with my husband (who also is a Physical Therapist – I will explain later how we met). After working hard for 2 years to pay off our debt (using Dave Ramsey’s baby steps), we moved back home to Pittsburgh to work for my husband’s family practice that specializes in outpatient orthopedics. After having my first child, I ventured into home health physical therapy, which is now my primary focus. I love being a part time physical therapist and a full time mom. It allows me to be fully involved in my children’s upbringing but also allows me to have a career in which I can help my patients using my knowledge I gained from my 7 years of higher education.
My favorite Testimony – how I met my husband
I love to share my testimony on how I met my husband, which directly leads into to my testimony on how I came to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.
I was attending Mercyhurst University for my undergraduate studies when I applied to two colleges in PIttsburgh for graduate school. I was accepted early to a college in Pittsburgh called Chatham for their doctoral program of physical therapy. However, I had not received any information regarding my application to the University of Pittsburgh for several months.
Pitt was my number one choice. Well, why wouldn’t it be? It’s located in an amazing city and is the number one ranked Physical Therapy program. Months had passed, and I had finally received my response letter for Pitt. When I opened it, the letter said “Waitlist”. Pure disappointment. I was excited I wasn’t rejected, but I was truly disappointed I was not accepted. I decided to not take my chances and tell Chatham I will be going to their school.
My mom and I spent a weekend in Pittsburgh visiting the city, but primarily looking for an apartment for when I would start school. We had found one pretty close by to Chatham. I was all set to go. Registered for PT school and apartment lease signed.
One random day, I felt this inquisitive thought burning inside of me. I was just curious. I was curious where I was ranked on the waitlist for the Pitt program. I wanted to see if I had a chance of possibly getting accepted later on before school started. So I decided to call up the director of the PT program at Pitt to have a friendly conversation. I asked her what number rank I was on the waitlist. She told me that they don’t actually rank it in by number per se, but when they need to open up a spot, they just review the applications again. I told her I was hoping to get accepted to Pitt since it was my top choice school, and I had already gotten an apartment in Pittsburgh since I was going to go to Chatham. The conversation ended without any discernible hint that it was going to help me.
But it did make an impact. Within a day or so (I really don’t remember exactly how long), I got a phone call from the director at Pitt. She called me to let me know they opened up a spot for me in their Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program!!! WoooHoooo, can you believe it? I had to fight so hard to hold back my tears. It was one of the most exciting phone calls I had ever received. I obviously accepted and beginning June 2006, I was enrolled at Pitt to become a physical therapist.
So my life completely changed in a matter of seconds with that phone call, but I never would have thought how much my life could change.
There’s this guy, named Darren, who was also applying for PT school. He was going to follow in his dad and brother’s footsteps and go to Slippery Rock University for grad school. He applied and got accepted. Well, on the last day to send in applications for the Pitt PT program, Darren thought he might as well try and see what happens. Well, it happened. He got accepted to the Pitt PT program. He decided to take a chance and go to Pitt. He enrolled.
On the first day of orientation at Pitt, I met Darren Bradley. We instantly became friends and study partners. Over time, we started to date and fall in love. The most amazing thing about our relationship is that if it wasn’t for Darren, I possibly never would have found Jesus. Darren taught me about having a relationship with Jesus and shared his knowledge of the Bible with me. On March 7, 2007, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Meeting Darren at Pitt was not a coincidence; it was God who orchestrated this amazing series of events in my life and Darren’s life. If both Darren and I would not have been accepted to Pitt, we never would have met.
I am so thankful to have met my husband, and am so thankful for him helping me grow in my faith. He is the one that makes me laugh the hardest, he makes me feel safe and secure, he loves me more than anyone I know and is always there to support me in whatever I do. He is intelligent and handsome and is really the whole package. I love him so much and am so blessed to have him as my partner for life.
Being a mom of 4 Girls
Like I mentioned earlier, I have 4 children.
My oldest is Makayla who is 6. Makayla is very bright, compassionate, a rule follower, enjoys school as well as dance, piano and soccer. Her favorite things are butterflies and bunnies as well as eating sweets!
Alayna is 5. She is a determined little girl who loves to laugh (she has the biggest belly laugh) and make silly faces. She also enjoys dance, gymnastics, ice hockey and swimming. She absolutely loves monkeys and lollipops.
Aryanna is 3 and is proud of it! She loves to sing and dance, do school with Mommy, read books and play outside as much as possible. Her favorite thing to say is “Jesus made us!”
My youngest is Natalya, who is a year and a half. She has such a sweet spirit about her. She is starting to develop an energetic personality and has a great sense of humor. She is following in her sisters’ footsteps and loves to dance and roll around.
God has truly blessed me with 4 amazing daughters. Each time I was pregnant, we decided to have a natural delivery and not to find out the gender of our baby. Every time I gave birth, we were so surprised to find out we were having another girl (since Darren is one of 3 boys and I have a brother). Having girls has been such a wonderful experience for me as a mom. I have so much unconditional love for them. They bring joy to my life, and I love every minute I get to spend with them.
A typical day for me with my girls would be eating breakfast together as a family, doing some kind of craft or educational toy/game/puzzle, playing, snack time, more playing/outdoor play, lunch, naps, free play while I cook dinner, family dinner, dancing, story time, cuddle time and bedtime. We aren’t strict with our schedule. If there is something fun going on, we alter our normal routine to accommodate whatever else might be planned for the day. We are flexible the majority of the time. We like to make fun memories together and take lots of pictures so we can capture those special moments that we might forget years down the road.
My girls’ favorite interests are soccer, dance, church, learning the Bible, playing outside, being on their swing set, going for walks and bike rides, traveling (especially to SC to visit Grancy), playing with their cousins, spending time with Grammie, Disney World, ice cream, board games, baking, coloring and most of all family time.
Let’s be friends
I went to school for 7 years to achieve my doctorate, I have 10 years of clinical experience, I am constantly learning new information through continuing education courses. All of this knowledge is to benefit you and help you achieve whatever physical goals you might have.
As a mom of 4 children, I know what it is like to go through 9 months of pregnancy, labor and delivery and being a new parent without feeling like you know what to do. My goal is to provide you with the resources that I have spent years researching – resources I wish I had when I was going through these experiences for the first time.
I am here on this blog to serve you. I want to help you in whatever way you might need help. I want to be there for you when you need your questions answered, guide you and help you to enjoy your pregnancy, motivate you to be strong postpartum, give you more clarity in your role as a mom, help you become the healthiest version of yourself, offer you advice on parenting and help you to have a strong core within your body and your family. If you need to get in touch with me, you can always contact me on my contacts page or click HERE.
It’s so nice to meet you and thanks for joining me on this blog journey!!
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.