Summer is coming. That means short shorts, barely there sundresses, and hanging by the pool drinking margaritas with your girls. Oh wait, you’re pregnant. So summer means elastic waistband shorts, tent-like sundresses, and virgin-ritas. Hey, it’s okay that you can’t exactly celebrate summer in your fave belly-baring bikini. Wait, yes you can. Being a soon-to-be mama shouldn’t make you run for a muumuu, and here’s why!

1. This is a special opp. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Well, maybe a twice or three times in a lifetime opp. In any case, having a baby belly is a special occasion — an occasion that makes it completely okay to show off… your belly. Next year, you might feel like covering those stretch marks (we all have them). But this year, you can put that beautiful belly of yours on display. It’s not exactly an everyday occurrence.

2. Size doesn’t matter. Whether you look like an SI swimsuit model with an itsy bitsy basketball on your tummy or you’ve gained weight absolutely everywhere, you’re positively glowing. As long as your doc thinks the weight gain is healthy, you’re good to go. And good to show. Don’t stress about your size. Really, there are so many more pregnancy issues to freak out about. Some of them may even be real! When it comes to showing off that bump of yours, remember: You’re pregnant and not just randomly gaining weight from hanging with your good friends Ben and Jerry too often. It’s time to let go of your body hang-ups and embrace your pregnant self. Right now.

3. Comfort is crucial. It’s hot out. Not just normal hot. It’s steam-shower, melt your mascara hot. Along with the crazy heat and hair-frizzing humidity, you’re pregnant. That adds on at least another 10 degrees. Or at least, that’s what it seems like. Hiding your overheated body underneath layers and layers of maternity-wear just won’t do. Comfort is key, and you need to feel cool immediately. Shed that extra fabric and let your bump breathe.

4. You’re in good company. Come on, you’ve seen them. The superstar celebs who totally show off their bumps all of the time. They wear form-fitting gowns to awards shows and various events, bare it all in bikinis (even during the last trimester), and go almost topless under a form-fitting blazer. No one is snapping pics of you for a tabloid-ish website, but if some of the most paparazzi-tagged mamas can spotlight their baby bellies without feeling shy, you can too!

5. You’ve got style, style, and more style. You just stumbled on the absolutely most fab sunny summer strappy dress. And it’s actually maternity-wear. Bonus! But it’s rather tight and does show off your growing bump. Yeah, so? If you’re all about the style, go ahead and put that belly-highlighting outfit on.

6. Psst! Everyone knows already. You’re eight months along. Guess what? We all know you’re preggo. Hiding behind a draping of heavy fabrics, chunky cardigans, and bulky dresses isn’t fooling anyone. Your pregnancy isn’t exactly a secret, and it shouldn’t be. Considering that everyone knows there’s a bump under that flowy sweater, you may as well shed it (the bulky wardrobe pieces, that is) and show it off.

7. It’s cute. Think about the last time you saw a mama-to-be. We’re not talking about you, in the mirror. Think back farther — to a time before you were the pregnant one. You saw that adorable belly bump and thought, “Aww! So sweet.” Chances are you weren’t like, “Whoa! How could she show that belly? Yuck.” No way. That baby bump is cute — on other pregnant women and on yourself.

8. There’s no reason not to. Well, that’s not entirely true. There are some situations where you’ll want to cover up. You wouldn’t wear a crop top to your morning marketing meeting during your non-preggo days. So don’t break this dress code just because you’ve got a baby in there. You also probably don’t want a ton of skin exposed on a frosty day, when you’re in the snow, or during any other cold time. Short of skirting social rules and worrying about the weather, you can be who you want to be and stop hiding that bump.

What’s your favorite maternity outfit? Share your answer and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)